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Growth areas: room for transport improvements In a report stretching to 72 pages, much of the content highlights the lack of adequate action to address transport needs in Melbourne’s growth areas caused in part by funding delays. The net result is less than satisfactory public transport and road networks and over-reliance on cars.What is clear is that as the population rises, so does the intensity of impetus for action. By Nicola Card. Victoria’s Auditor General John Doyle says the report highlights the need for urgent whole-ofgovernment action to address the growing impacts of the state’s longstanding failure to meet the transport needs of growth areas.
“Significant investment of more than $10 billion is required to address the current infrastructure and service backlog: between $4.1 and $5.1 billion in road works and a minimum $6.2 billion in rail projects, most of which are longstanding.”
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t is no secret that Melbourne’s rapidly growing population is tipped to hit 5 million by 2030 with much of the growth occurring in the outer regions stretching south east, west, and north of the city. By 2031 the combined population of Cardinia, Casey, Hume, Melton, Mitchell, Whittlesea and Wyndham is anticipated to hit 1.7 million or more, an increase of 765,000 or 77 per cent on 2011 figures. These figures add up to a major challenge when it comes to providing adequate transport infrastructure and sustainable support services: the cost of necessary infrastructure is estimated at around $36 billion over 30 years – and that does not include all necessary maintenance and renewal. These are just some of the facts outlined in the 72-page Developing Transport Infrastructure and Services for Population Growth Areas, the audit commissioned by the Victorian Auditor-General to assess the effectiveness of state agencies in planning and delivering transport infrastructure and services for population growth areas. Responsibility for planning and delivering state transport infrastructure and services for growth areas rests with several agencies including the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure, the Growth Areas Authority (GAA), Public Transport Victoria (PTV) and VicRoads. In a nutshell, the report concluded the state has failed to deliver the transport infrastructure and services needed to support rapidly growing communities and called for urgent action to address the problem caused by inadequate public transport and “growing gaps” in the road network in these communities. Short-comings that are creating barriers to mobility, limiting access to critical services, education and employment opportunities. > 4
Such deficiencies increase car dependence, traffic congestion and pollution which, in turn, impact on state productivity. And elsewhere, the report notes the “longstanding disconnect between planning and funding gives credence to the perception that past state-wide planning initiatives have been disingenuous”. A situation that has arisen despite, as listed in the report, a series of related inquiries, investigations and recommendations of likeminded agencies over successive years. The overall picture is one of inadequate action in infrastructure developments based partly on a lack of government funds (derived from State Budget processes coupled with Commonwealth contributions) and planning deficiencies. The report states that growing pressure on state finances heightens the need to effectively prioritise limited funds, and to develop alternative funding sources and implementation strategies to meet the growing challenge.
Facts and stats That said, there are some examples of improvements to public transport and the road network in growth areas in recent years, supported by investment of around $2.5 billion. These include: rail extensions and new stations; bus route upgrades; road duplications and bypasses, and freeway upgrades. Despite these advances, most of the growth areas remain inadequately serviced compared to the rest of metropolitan Melbourne with substantially fewer, less frequent and less direct public transport services. The report highlights: • Geographic coverage – growth area residents, on average, have less than half as many public transport routes compared to other metropolitan residents and, almost one-quarter of growth area households are not within the state’s target of 95 per cent of households being within 400 metres of public transport. • Service frequency – growth area residents generally wait longer for bus services, and • Directness of services – growth areas have fewer direct routes and comparatively longer journey times. Bus services earmarked for expansion have not fully materialised; leaving significant ongoing gaps; PTV estimates $197 million 4
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of recurrent funding is required to address matters, and is currently updating its network plans for trams and buses in a bid to develop a priority list of infrastructure projects and associated costs over the coming decades. These plans are expected to be completed by 2014, after which the implications for current growth area public transport priorities can be more fully assessed.
Road and rail Those electing to drive are not much better off: arterial roads are currently at or beyond capacity with congestion, delay and safety. Added to the list of negatives is the time taken to fund rail services to growth areas from first identifying the need is usually excessive – in most cases exceeding three decades. Significant investment of more than $10 billion is required to address the current infrastructure and service backlog: between $4.1 and $5.1 billion in road works and a minimum $6.2 billion in rail projects, most of which are longstanding.
Alternative funding initiatives The report’s recommendations focus on addressing these issues and call for support via a realistic and effective whole-ofgovernment approach, while warning that unless funding challenges are addressed the situation could worsen. This points to the “pressing need” for agencies to explore alternative financing options. Other than the introduction of the Growth Areas Infrastructure Contribution (GAIC) in 2010 as an additional charge on landowners for contributing to state infrastructure including arterial roads and public transport, insufficient action has been taken by transport agencies to date to address the longstanding issue of alternative funding. The GAIC which is expected to collect up to $3.6 billion over 30 years also provides for developers to undertake “works in kind” which involves the early delivery of an asset in lieu of paying the charge. Although GAIC represents an important future revenue source it is only expected to fund up to 15 per cent of state infrastructure works in relevant areas. In September 2012, an initial allocation of $6.9 million was provided to Casey, Hume,
Melton and Wyndham councils primarily for transport infrastructure projects. As at June 2013, a total of $49.9 million had been collected. The Growth Areas Authority (GAA) is currently developing a proposal to optimise the use of GAIC funding. Also noted in the report was the development in 2012 of the Growth Corridor Plans (GCP), the attempt to provide the framework to guide the planning of new communities in Victoria’s growth corridors. Meanwhile Precinct Structure Plans (PSPs) provided further details of proposed developments for new suburbs, and the complementary Precinct Infrastructure Plans (PIPs) were also launched.
Blueprint for remedial action Taking these and all related matters into consideration, the Victorian Auditor General’s report recommends various courses of action to address transport and infrastructure inefficiencies in growth areas: 1. That the Growth Areas Authority, in consultation with state transport agencies, finalise development of effective arrangements for transparently acquitting the Precinct Structure Plan guidelines and related transport requirements. 2. That Public Transport Victoria develops minimum service standards to guide planning for the frequency and directness of public transport services. Action to address prioritising, funding and monitoring the delivery of transport infrastructure: 3. That the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure, in conjunction with Public Transport Victoria, VicRoads and the Growth Areas Authority develop and implement: • A statewide framework for prioritising the delivery of transport infrastructure that reconciles broader statewide priorities against the needs of growth areas • A funding strategy incorporating alternative financing options and innovative solutions to systematically address the transport backlog and meet the future needs of growth areas, and • An associated monitoring and evaluation framework to assess whether the progressive delivery of transport infrastructure and services in growth areas is being achieved as planned and has been effective.
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Maintaining momentum in a postboom economy
slower growth future in project investment lies ahead unless government and industry join forces to address barriers which include high costs, says Business Council of Australia President Tony Shepherd. Managing the transition from the peak of the resources boom and “pulling out all stops” to deliver on the investment pipeline are vital factors in underpinning continued economic growth. Shepherd’s views were presented during an investment and project costs forum in Sydney in early August at which he called for the release of the final report on the costs of delivering major projects and opportunities for improving performance. An internal task force revealed that Australia’s investment project pipeline declined from “unprecedented highs” of around $921 billion to $877 billion over the past 12 months. Hardest hit were projects ‘under consideration’ which in one year slumped 30 per cent to $159 billion. This represents a plummet of 43 per cent over two years. Maintaining annual infrastructure investment at four (or more) per cent of GDP or cumulative spending of $767 billion over 10 years would smooth the transition from the peak of the mining boom and maintain the flow of investment benefits to the community, Mr Shepherd commented. “At this challenging time for our economy, it is vital we deliver projects currently underway at lowest cost, secure viable projects that are not yet committed, and bring on the next wave of investment, including high-quality public infrastructure projects,” he said. Established 12 months ago, the BCA’s Project Costs Task Force which focused on actions by companies and governments that could improve Australia’s project competitiveness found that: • high project costs stemmed from problems in planning, design, scheduling and procurement;
“Securing major investment projects will help offset a projected real and cumulative decline of $39 billion in the engineering construction sector over the next three years.”
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Tony Shepherd of BCA urges greater project investment to maintain momentum across the economy and delivery of major projects.
“It is vital we deliver projects currently underway at lowest cost … and bring on the next wave of investment, including high-quality public infrastructure projects.”
• unpredictable and unnecessarily complex government regulatory processes; and • a workplace relations system which does not support productivity and competitiveness. Exacerbating problems are the high Australian dollar and remote locations of many projects. “The opportunity remains to lock in $159 billion worth of investment in projects that are classed as ‘under consideration’ and continue to work to make viable $250 billion of projects that are listed as ‘possible’. “We expect other sectors of the economy like housing, services and exports to strengthen over time but in the immediate period we need to prioritise actions to secure viable, productive investments,” Mr Shepherd said. “Securing major investment projects will help offset a projected real and cumulative decline of $39 billion in the engineering construction sector over the next three years. We have developed real expertise in project design and construction in Australia that we should be deploying for new investment opportunities.
Prioritising actions for investment The BCA’s Project Costs Task Force suggests the Federal Government: • Lift its spending on Infrastructure Australia approved projects and consider the merits of borrowing to do so; • Reform the workplace relations system by reinstating the Australian Building and Construction Commission; ensures good faith bargaining on greenfield sites (and where that fails, provide the capacity for employer-only agreements with no return of compulsory arbitration); improve the capacity for use of individual flexibility agreements; and wind back expanded union right of access and entry.
• Businesses having access to skilled labour; • Improving project management skills and the capacity of managers to make productivity- enhancing decisions; • Improving the efficiency of project approval processes; and • Implementing a better workplace relations system that is more conducive to good project performance and productivity growth. “Both governments and industry bear responsibility for taking the actions that will constrain the costs of delivering major projects and restore Australia’s competitiveness.”
• Enable Infrastructure Australia to identify its own projects of national significance, and • Reform development assessment and approval processes, which should be guided by the Productivity Commission’s recent report on the issue.
Stating that governments and industry have a joint responsibility for actions that restore Australia’s competitiveness, Mr Shepherd outlined the BCA’s Action Plan for Enduring Prosperity. The plan centres on well-managed growth and delivery of major projects based on productive workers, continuing investment, and unleashing innovation, achieved through:
“Governments and industry bear responsibility for taking the actions that will constrain the costs of delivering major projects and restore Australia’s competitiveness.”
ROADS OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013
Testing environmental technologies in heavy vehicles In the high-pressure world of road transport, fleets are always on the lookout for fuel efficiency technologies that will deliver genuine savings. Rare Consulting, a division of infrastructure consultancy pitt&sherry, is working with the NSW government’s Roads and Maritime Services agency (RMS) to build an evidence bank demonstrating the true performance of environmental technologies. By the Green Truck Partnership, NSW
“Over the last few years, a lot of companies with light and heavy vehicles in NSW have been looking at how they can cut back on energy consumption,” says Rebecca Williamson, Consultant with Rare/ pitt&sherry, a leading Australian consultancy specialising in energy efficiency and carbon emissions in the transport arena. “Despite this,” she says, “relatively little has been done to evaluate and document the real-world economic and environmental performance of heavy vehicle technologies in Australia. Overseas programs have looked at these issues—but differences in factors such as road conditions and vehicle types mean that Australia can’t necessarily apply the results of overseas trials and presume the outcomes will be similar.” Conscious of the need to address this research gap, RMS sought the consultancy’s advice, and in 2009, the Green Truck Partnership was born.
Leveraging industry connections Spearheaded by a Steering Group representing 11 prominent stakeholders – including Boral Transport, Murray Goulburn Co-operative, Star Track and several government agencies – the Partnership aims to: 8
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(a) independently test technologies that claim to improve the environmental performance of heavy vehicles; and (b) give fleet operators a credible research foundation on which to base their purchasing decisions. Heavy vehicle fleets across Australia can participate in trials. The Steering Group advises RMS on technology selection and testing protocols. Using its industry connections, the Steering Group finds out which technologies fleets are already considering trialling. If a fleet agrees and the trial is suitable or can be readily adapted, it is brought under the Partnership umbrella. “Sourcing participants from fleets already trialling a particular technology not only helps the Partnership to build a library of real-world case studies,” said Williamson, “but provides the trial fleets with a robust evaluation of the trial technology, which they may not have undertaken otherwise.” RMS contracted Rare/pitt&sherry to manage the Partnership, including liaising with fleets to develop and operate trials, devising data collection methodologies, analysing the data according to agreed protocols, and writing case studies that report on the effectiveness of each technology trialled.
Making valid comparisons Data from each trial is collected via “loggers” fitted into participating trucks’ engine management systems. The loggers wirelessly transmit data to an online platform. Williamson and her colleagues can log into this platform remotely to watch the data accumulate in real time, although the data logging provider also sends daily aggregates for each truck. The data collection can run for as long as four months, which provides a solid bank of data, while allowing time to evaluate the data thoroughly and write the case studies. With specialist expertise in data analysis, Rare/pitt&sherry developed the data collection protocols for the Partnership. “A lot of data collection companies offer loggers that can tap into trucks’ engines and pull data from them,” said Williamson, “but it’s how you use this data to verify any potential fuel savings or greenhouse emission reductions that makes or breaks the analysis. “For example, it wouldn’t be sound methodology simply to compare fuel consumption data from a hybrid truck with data from a standard truck as a basis for measuring fuel savings. Differences in factors like loads, drivers, routes, terrain and ambient air temperature can all affect fuel consumption.” To address this issue, a model was developed with parameters that “quarantine” certain data—enabling a direct comparison of vehicle performance during the baseline and trial data collection periods. The other key to a successful and reliable trial is to ensure the vehicles operate under similar conditions during the baseline and the test periods. To ensure this is achieved, Williamson and her colleagues undertake “before and after” mapping. This tracks each truck’s engine load and speed variance over the course of a day, to make sure it is doing exactly the same thing when the technology is in use, as when it is not. These kinds of measures help ensure a valid comparison between the kinds of technologies or vehicles being trialled. They also give RMS and participating fleets confidence that any benefits demonstrated by the technologies are due to the technologies themselves; not to other factors.
Quantifiable energy savings Rare/pitt&sherry uses agreed criteria to analyse the data from each trial and write the case study; providing further assurance that the results presented accurately reflect the differences between the technologies and/or vehicles trialled. Given the complexity of technologies trialled, and the need to ensure an absolutely robust comparison, each trial can take many weeks or months to establish. Ten trials have been completed and published on the RMS website at http://tinyurl.com/buhye3r since the first round took place in 2010. One trial in 2012 assessed the performance of a hybrid electric vehicle compared with a conventional diesel vehicle. The trial was carried out using two local pick-up and delivery trucks operating in Sydney’s metropolitan area. The most common form of hybrid combines a petrol or diesel-powered internal combustion engine with an electric motor powered by on-board batteries. The energy used by the electric motor is drawn from an on-board battery pack charged by the kinetic energy recovered from the braking system. Using this recovered energy during acceleration reduces overall fuel consumption. On the other hand, hybrid vehicles are more expensive to purchase— making independent trials a valuable source of knowledge when fleets weigh up “whole-of-life” costs and benefits during purchasing decisions. The Partnership’s 2012 trial demonstrated a 21 per cent saving in fuel costs, and the same figure for greenhouse gas emissions. “This was a significant result,” said Williamson. “Although some manufacturers claim significantly higher savings, we had only ever seen average figures around 15 per cent in Australian on-road applications.” Another recent trial involved assessing the effectiveness of “environmental driver training”, which aims to help drivers operate heavy vehicles in a way that reduces fuel consumption. The trial took place over 10 weeks in mid-2012, using a prime mover on Melbourne’s urban distribution routes. The driver undertook simulator and in-cab training to improve knowledge of gear shifting, speed, acceleration, cruise control, braking, idle time, route planning and observation. Analysis of logger data revealed an 8% reduction in fuel costs and the same figure for greenhouse gas emissions, compared with preintervention levels. In the regional sphere, a 2011 trial comparing an LNG-powered vehicle using High Pressure Direct Injection (HPDI) technology with a conventional diesel-powered vehicle also yielded noteworthy results. Carried out over six weeks using B double trucks doing line-haul work in regional Victoria, the trial was designed to test the industry’s observation that HDPI delivers superior fuel savings and environmental benefits compared with other natural gas engine technologies. The trial demonstrated greenhouse emission reduction of 22 per cent, compared with the diesel-only powered vehicle.
Arming fleets with objective information “No other program in Australia does what the Green Truck Partnership is doing in the heavy vehicle sector,” said Williamson. “We hope that the case studies developed under the Partnership’s auspices will serve as a valuable resource for fleets when they’re approached by companies making claims about a product’s ability to cut fuel consumption or greenhouse emissions. We believe it will give fleets real-world examples with which to judge that business case, rather than going solely on what the manufacturer says.” ROADS OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013
Gateway WA funding approvals locked in The go-ahead has been given to full project delivery by 2017 of the $1 billion Gateway WA project. On August 5, Western Australia’s Transport Minister, Troy Buswell, said talks between the State and Federal Governments had set the final project price, scope of works and construction methodology for Gateway WA. The project is jointly funded by the Commonwealth - $686 million – and the WA Government – $318 million. The alliance contract for the project has been awarded to Gateway WA which comprises Leighton Contractors, Georgiou, GHD, AECOM and BG&E. The first stage of the project, construction of an on-ramp to the Tonkin Highway from Abernethy Road, began last February and is due to be completed in September. The on-ramp will cut 3.7 kilometres off the current transport route for trucks by providing a direct link for heavy transport to the regional network via Tonkin Highway southbound. “This is but the first step in a large program of road infrastructure improvements that will enhance connectivity and transport efficiency within the Kewdale freight precinct,” Mr Buswell said.
The minister said the final approvals reached over direct costs by the two governments represented a significant milestone to enable the project to progress to full delivery. “Gateway WA is a commitment to a massive road network upgrade in one of the state’s most important transport hubs around the Perth airports and the nearby Kewdale and Forrestfield industrial areas, which will be delivered by early 2017. “It will not only reduce traffic congestion for Perth road users, but will benefit those Western Australians in regional communities who depend on a thriving resources industry for their livelihood. “This is the single biggest undertaking by Main Roads WA, which will be managing the project, and while I acknowledge that works of this scale and complexity can bring disruption, they have been scoped in stages to minimise interruptions and adverse impacts to local businesses and road users generally,” Mr Buswell said. “While the full scope of the works will be completed by 2017, completed sections of the project will be opened to traffic where possible to provide immediate relief and benefit. “Priority will also be given, where possible, to preserving travel times, maintaining access
to driveway and public transport, and ensuring the safe passage of pedestrians and cyclists.” The key parts of the project are: • a freeway-to-freeway traffic interchange at the Tonkin and Leach Highways intersection, and a major new access to the international airport terminal; • an interchange at the Tonkin Highway, Horrie Miller Drive and Kewdale Road intersection, removing one of Perth’s worst black spots; • an interchange at the Leach Highway and Abernethy Road intersection; • upgrade of the existing interchange at the junction of the Tonkin and Roe Highways to a partial freeway-to-freeway interchange; • upgrade of the Leach Highway to ‘express standard’ between Tonkin Highway and Orrong Road, maximising the benefits of the new Leach Highway and Abernethy Road interchange; • an interchange and road extension to Boud Avenue; • upgrading local access roads in the Kewdale industrial area; and • noise mitigation measures , cycle and pedestrian facilities, and installation of intelligent transport systems infrastructure.
Elizabeth Quay project set to ‘future proof’ Perth Work is well advanced on infrastructure under the initial stages of Perth’s $2.6 billion Elizabeth Quay Project, which according to the Western Australian Government, will futureproof the capital city. Private enterprise is contributing $2.2 billion of the project’s cost while the government is spending $400 million to fund construction of an inlet, roads and services, public domain and development sites. Work commenced on the development in April 2012 – Elizabeth Quay will cover nearly 10 hectares of prime waterfront land in Perth and the project is due to be completed by mid-2015. A major benefit of the project is construction of a new city-bound traffic link from Point Lewis Rotary – under the Narrows Bridge – to William Street. The stretch of road 10
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currently only accommodates west-bound traffic, but is being modified to provide an alternative route into the city. Works to improve the road network around the site are ongoing and due for completion in November.
Divers have spent hours underwater beneath Perth’s central business district to upgrade the city’s main stormwater drain. Work is well advanced on the drain – commercial divers are spending up to four hours per dive modifying the drain to enable new connections.
Other works include installation of a new water main, the laying of extra conduit to carry power services and construction of 13 large underground power pits. Work on the pits is also well advanced. “The work currently underway will lay the foundation for Elizabeth Quay and – at the
same time – boost water, drainage and power infrastructure to meet the needs of the city for decades to come,” according to WA Planning Minister, John Day. “The work will ensure that essential services to the wider CBD, and eventually the precinct, can cater for our growing population.”
Minister Day said Elizabeth Quay would create more than 400 jobs during the construction phase and help generate private sector investment in the state’s economy. “The Elizabeth Quay project is creating jobs and investment for Western Australia, and ultimately we expect to recover much of the upfront cost when land sales around the inlet are finalised.” One complete, the quay is expected to be the workplace for about 10,000 people – it will contain more than 800 residential apartments, 200,000 square metres of office space and 25,000 of retail space. The project is developed under the auspices of the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority. The Western Australian Government is committing $1.75 billion to projects including Elizabeth Quay, Perth City Link, Riverside and the Perth Cultural Centre. The projects are estimated to generate more than $9 billion in private sector investment for Western Australia’s economy.
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East West link to ‘bust congestion’ Delivering the $6-8 billion East West Link is a priority for the Victorian Government because the people of Melbourne have had enough of traffic gridlock and slow travel times, according to Premier, Denis Napthine. “We are taking decisive action to bust congestion and improve connectivity and productivity. This nation-building project will also create more than 3,200 jobs,” Dr Napthine said during August. He said, however, construction of the link would not occur at the expense of public transport. “The Coalition is equally committed to roads and public transport.” Dr Napthine said the government was progressing four game-changing projects: • the $4.8 billion Regional Rail Project which is under construction; • the $6-8 billion East West Link; • the Melbourne Metro rail tunnel; and • the Port of Hastings. In addition, the following improvements to public transport were already being made: • 1,078 extra metro train trips per week; • 3,400 extra bus trips per week; • $100 million Bayside Rail upgrade (Frankston line); • $25 million Dandenong line upgrade;
• more than $400 million to remove level crossings across Melbourne; • 15 new X’Trapolis trains - 7 already delivered, 8 on the way; • 40 new V/Line carriages on the way; and • 50 new low-floor trams on the way. Dr Napthine said motorists travelling across Melbourne would save around 20 minutes on an average trip during peak hours once the new East West Link was built. “East West Link will bring long awaited and much needed relief for motorists who are fed up with traffic gridlock in Melbourne – it will bust congestion on the Eastern Freeway, at Hoddle Street and the Bolte Bridge,” Dr Napthine said. “It will cut travel times, reduce congestion and improve connectivity and productivity across Melbourne and Victoria. “It will make it easier and quicker for people to get where they are going,” he said. “It can currently take around 45 minutes for people to travel from the Chandler Highway on the Eastern Freeway to reach Brunswick Road on the Tullamarine Freeway during the morning peak. “With East West Link, this trip will be drastically cut to around 25 minutes, with motorists having a clear and stress-free
run rather than facing up to 23 traffic lights when going via Brunswick Road and 18 traffic lights when going via Elliot Avenue and Flemington Road. “Motorists would be aware that Alexandra Parade has some of the highest density of traffic lights in the state. “With the East West Link tunnel, which will take around seven minutes in travel time, motorists will be able to bypass these many lights, bringing to an end frustrating stop-start traffic conditions. “This is a significant time saving for motorists travelling to the airport for a morning flight, or for tradespeople travelling across town for a job,” Dr Napthine said. The Premier said people travelling through Melbourne’s inner North, in Fitzroy and Collingwood, would also notice a tangible difference in traffic thanks to the East West Link. “As motorists know, Alexandra Parade is congested during the day and on weekends. This has a significant effect on local roads, bringing motorists to a stand-still,” Dr Napthine said. “East West Link will bust congestion in these areas, make local roads safer, and make a noticeable difference to travel times.”
Hills M2 upgrade to bring economic growth to Sydney’s north west The completion of the Hills M2 Upgrade marks a considerable improvement to motorway capacity in Sydney’s North West, and will significantly ease congestion and improve travel times for commuters, according to Infrastructure Partnerships Australia. The peak infrastructure body said completion of the M2 widening was a clear indication of what could be achieved by government in partnership with the private sector, to accelerate the delivery of projects. “Everyone can see that Sydney is doing it tough, both in terms of congestion and the Government’s ability to fund the level of investment that’s needed,” said IPA Chief Executive, Brendan Lyon. “That means smart arrangements, like using a concession extension to pay for widening existing motorways, is exactly the 12
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kind of outcome focus that we need to see more of across Australia’s public sector. “The completion of the Hills M2 Upgrade, at no cost to taxpayers, is an excellent outcome as it addresses the congestion problem in one of Sydney’s fastest growing corridors,” Mr Lyon said. “An efficient Hills M2 motorway is critical to economic growth as it links the North West to Sydney’s CBD, and provides a connection to the major employment hubs of Macquarie Park and Norwest Business Park.” Mr Lyon said congestion was stripping billions from the state’s economy each year, and with the population of Sydney’s North West expected to grow by 200,000 over the next 30 years, it was essential to achieve effective road and rail connections.
“More people will logically mean more cars and trucks on the road and a greater call on public transport, so it makes sense to consider how existing road links can be upgraded, in conjunction with new projects, to ensure the efficient movement of passengers and freight. “While everyone wants to see new projects being brought to market in New South Wales, it’s equally important to consider how existing infrastructure networks can be expanded to provide additional capacity,” he contended. “Importantly, the widening of the M2 now clears the way for work to progress on the F3 to M2 connection – one of the missing links in Sydney’s motorway network. “The F3-M2 is a crucial passenger and freight corridor, because it will link the Hunter and the Central Coast with Sydney.”
Newcastle project to ease bridge and road congestion Federal funding is being provided to upgrade Tourle Street Bridge and Cormorant Road in Newcastle, a project identified as a regional priority by Infrastructure Australia. The overall cost of the project – being funded by the Federal and New South Wales Governments – is more than $100 million. Tourle Street and Cormorant Road form an increasingly congested transport corridor connecting the city with the Kooragang Island industrial precinct, as well as the Air Force complex at Williamtown and the residential areas of Stockton, Medowie and Port Stephens. With daily traffic volumes expected to increase further over the coming decade from 33,000 to 40,000 cars and trucks, action is required to improve road conditions. Canberra will contribute $52 million towards the duplication of the Tourle Street Bridge and its approaches – funding is
already included in the budget. The NSW Government will provide the balance of the required funding ($52 million). Construction is scheduled to start in 2015 following the finalisation of the detailed design work. Once completed, the improvements made will ease congestion and deliver smoother, faster driving conditions on and around the bridge. Over the past five-and-a-half years, Federal funding has been provided to: • build the new $1.7 billion Hunter Expressway – expected to be completed in 2014: • complete the Bulahdelah Bypass on the Pacific Highway; • undertake a $580 million upgrade of the region’s freight rail network in generations – mostly completed; and • improve safety at dozens of dangerous black spots on local roads.
WestConnex Motorway Stage One The first stage of the New South Wales Government’s WestConnex Motorway will comprise a four-kilometre tunnel from Strathfield to Ashfield and a widened M4 Motorway. The price tag for the first stage development will be up to $4 billion. The tunnel will run under Parramatta Road from the start of the existing M4 at Strathfield to near Wattle Street at Ashfield. It will have to connect with the City West Link and the Eastern section of Parramatta Road to the city. The O’Farrell Government has received the business case for the entire WestConnex Motorway – the 33 kilometre project would be the largest motorway project in Australia. It would comprise a widened M4 from Parramatta to Strathfield, extend under Parramatta to Camperdown, run under the city’s inner west to Mascot Airport and then duplicate the M5 East Tunnel. The motorway is planned to be constructed in three sections.
ROADS OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2013